AIX's inside track on the road to recovery

Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg returned in June with aircraft interior companies highlighting their latest technologies and innovations.

Signing the agreement

Signing the agreement were His excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, (right), group chief executive of Qatar Airways and Ken Sain, CEO of Panasonic Avionics. Picture: Panasonic

Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) returned to Hamburg in June, as the aviation industry forecast return to profitability in 2023, with more than 4.2 billion passengers set to take to the skies this year.

“It is great to see the recovery of the industry maintaining pace,” said Molly Magraw, event director, Aircraft Interiors Expo.

“While there is still a long way to go back to pre-pandemic levels, the industry is taking the right steps, and we were delighted to see airlines embracing the opportunity to transform their business operations to meet the evolving expectations of passengers. After the return of AIX in 2022, it was exciting to get back to business, creating even more opportunities for attendees to connect, learn and source the latest innovations.”

More than 1,000 products from global airline suppliers based in over 30 countries turned out for the event, from seating companies to technology ones.

Panasonic Avionics unveiled its extension of its Astrova IFE portfolio with new 4K OLED monitors for First and Business Class cabins, and Qatar Airways became the launch customer at it signed an agreement for the ‘groundbreaking’ in-flight entertainment (IFE) solution. Its fleet of 40 Boeing 777x is the first aircraft type to feature the solution.

Ken Sain, CEO of Panasonic Avionics said: “We are pleased that Qatar Airways has chosen Astrova for its fleet of 777x aircraft. Using our IFE innovation, Qatar Airways can leverage the latest consumer innovations to deliver unique passenger experiences to drive higher Net Promotor Scores, enhance passenger engagement, increase revenue, and achieve even greater operational efficiencies through IFE.”

IFE and cabin technology company, AERQ, a joint venture between LG Electronics and Lufthansa Technik, was displaying its latest cabin interior technology, and also said it looks forward to expanding in the Middle East.

“AERQ provides airlines with cabin solutions that allow them to tap into new business models, drive ancillary revenues and generate operational efficiencies,” said Arnd Kikker, managing director at AERQ.

“This year we had the opportunity to attend the Aircraft Interiors Middle East for the first time. It was an excellent occasion to meet many interesting people and to make numerous connections that we expect to lead to fruitful partnerships in the future. We expect to partner with Middle Eastern airlines in order to empower them to become the playmakers of their own cabin while creating revenue.”

Emirates also announced at AIX it will become the first airline to operate Airbus’ HBCplus agnostic satcom connectivity solution following its line-fit selection to equip its 50 new A350-900 aircraft with the service.

Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ Chief Operating Officer said: “HBCplus, offered by Airbus, will provide our Airbus A350 fleet with better integration and performance using the latest generation of connectivity and antenna. With the first of our 50 new A350s joining Emirates’ fleet next year, we look forward to providing our passengers with the latest standard of continuous high bandwidth inflight connectivity throughout their journey to enjoy a better experience.”

Vision Systems, a provider of shading and cabin ambiance solutions, showcased electronically dimmable windows which recently were included in aircrafts with: Comlux for ACJ TwoTwenty, Daher for TBM 960, and AMAC Aerospace, while Satair signed a multi-year agreement with CTT Systems, extending their global exclusive distribution rights for CTT Systems’ A350 humidifier pads and the Cabin Active Humidity Control System for commercial and VIP aircraft.

Collins Aerospace, a business of Raytheon Technologies, unveiled Aurora, the company’s first fully lie-flat Business Class suite designed exclusively for narrow-body aircraft.   

The 2023 Crystal Cabin Awards also took place during AIX and Collins Aerospace was placed first in the ‘Passenger Comfort’ category, for its Collins' InteliSence intelligent cabin.  

Marcelle (Ella) Nethersole

Marcelle (Ella) Nethersole

Ella is a news editor for digital news channels including Arabian Aerospace, African Aerospace and Times Aerospace TV.